The A.V. Club's Scores

For 5,222 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 49% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 48% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 1.8 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Lowest review score: 0 Epic Movie
Score distribution:
5,222 movie reviews
  1. Though shorn of 20 minutes for its U.S. debut, the film's wry comic portrait of the Japanese Occupation during WWII hasn't lost any of its incendiary brilliance, both as a political provocation and as a brusquely humane take on the horrors and absurdity of war.
  2. Though it occasionally wears its metaphors on its sleeve, Ulee's Gold should, if there's any justice, find the same thoughtful-drama-hungry audience that made "Sling Blade" a hit.
  3. Smart in a rare way that matters greatly to good contemporary comedy: Like last year's "Flirting With Disaster," its script and direction underplay absurd situations, letting its characters amuse without showing the strains of forced wackiness.
  4. What Von Trier arrives at is a complex, contemporary, and deeply moving exploration of faith.
  5. Mann takes all the instincts he learned as a Miami Vice producer and trims them of their excesses, and the result is an unsettling thriller whose detached style perfectly complements its psychological intensity.
  6. Seasoned with amusing bits of fantasy, like a pizza topping that briefly curls into a smile, Friday Night captures the city at its most inviting, alive with the feeling that wonderful things can happen to ordinary people.
  7. An inspired, original, and gracefully integrated collaboration of theater and cinema that complements not only both forms, but also the seductive, dreamlike qualities of the source material.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The superbly edited original version of Amadeus used overlapping sound cues for a lively flow between scenes, and the new version breaks up some of that flow with lengthy, talky interludes. Still, Ondrícek's breathtaking images and Forman's essential craft are best appreciated on the big screen, and another theatrical run for Amadeus is a welcome gift, no matter how much this edition unnecessarily gilds what's already a near-perfect lily
  8. Neither condemning nor forgiving, the film is a model of documentary evenhandedness, even though James makes no claims of objectivity.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    One of the funniest movies of the year, but you may need to shower afterwards.
  9. A viscerally punishing study of repression and masochism, carried out with the utmost discretion and chilling reserve.
  10. So much fun that its considerable worth as history and sociology seems almost incidental.
  11. There's not a weak performance in Secrets And Lies, a fact made more notable by the seeming ease with which the cast performs as an ensemble.
  12. A Trojan horse of a teen comedy that balanced lowbrow gags with subtle humor, genuine insight—Crowe spent a year undercover as a high-school student—and pathos.
  13. Malick's powerful intermingling of brutality and beauty, his signature cutaways to indigenous flora and fauna, and the gentle lyricism of his disjunctive narration and painterly images are too rich to fully register in a single viewing.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    An astoundingly moving and elegiac meditation on life, love, music, and the bonds of blood.
  14. A superb portrait of a band and an industry in flux.
  15. By turns playful, harrowing, intensely moving, and uproariously funny, Chain Camera cuts away all documentary artifice and goes straight to the source, allowing these kids to reveal themselves with the utmost directness and candor.
  16. With startling clarity and dreadful logic, Loach and Laverty make sense of every bad choice Compston makes until he runs out of options, locked into a destiny that he can't escape, mainly because his good intentions are clouded by tragic naivete.
  17. Payne, the great satirist behind "Citizen Ruth" and "Election," loves to populate his films with throwaway details, which in About Schmidt accumulate into a portrait of Midwestern life that's almost chilling in its exactitude.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    That the familiar story of the Titanic disaster is told with suspense is not as surprising as Cameron's clear-headed balance of truth and fiction, spectacle and tragedy.
  18. Thoroughly realized characters and relationships and Solondz's masterful ability to switch the tone from comic to tragic within the same scene help make Happiness a better film than it might have been otherwise. Much better, in fact.
  19. Carnahan alternates gritty neo-realism with bursts of extreme stylization -- most notably in a breathless opening chase filmed with handheld cameras -- but thankfully, his stylistic flourishes are in the service of the film's story, not the other way around.
  20. Ten
    Nobody handles unvarnished interactions quite the way Kiarostami does, and for much of Ten, it's a kind of austere thrill to watch him focus so intently on one aspect of his craft.
  21. Lee at his best, a virtuoso piece of filmmaking that's stylish, substantial, and rich in detail.
  22. The film's absolute conviction keeps it from feeling formulaic.
  23. In Amandla!, history doesn't just come alive--it sings, dances, and issues a passionate plea for justice and equality. The film joyously celebrates music as both a means to an end and an end unto itself.
  24. First-time director Jarecki, better known as the co-founder of MovieFone, skillfully integrates the home-movie footage with his own thorough inquiry, weaving past and present into a patient, deeply engrossing piece of storytelling that's rich in ambiguities.
  25. Few directors are capable of marrying ideas and entertainment—one is often sacrificed for the other—but Spielberg peppers one gripping action setpiece after another with trenchant details about a near-future robbed of the most basic freedoms and privacy.
  26. The marvelous new Talk To Her has elements that wouldn't have seemed out of place in an Almodóvar film of 20 years ago

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